GOODYEAR, AZ — The cherry red 1957 Chevy in the middle of the entry way tells you right away, this isn’t your father’s Oldsmobile or your grandmother’s antique shop.
It’s the newest Brass Armadillo® Antique Mall, which recently opened on I-10 and Dysart Road in Goodyear, Arizona. Even though this football-sized antique mall could double as a vintage car showroom, it doesn’t. Upon closer inspection, the Chevy is a greeter station where dealers and collectors can get information, location maps, and assistance as they enter the 46,000-square-foot mall and set off on a convivial destination shopping experience.
“We’re celebrating our 20th anniversary this year, so we thought we would change up the look and feel of our malls, and where better to start than with a brand new mall,” said Dave Briddle, co-founder and vice president of the Brass Armadillo®.
While the economy has presented most retailers with challenges, Briddle says antiquing is enjoying continuing growth, if not some new-found fame and limelight.
“Reality shows such as Pawn Stars, Antiques Roadshow and American Pickers are not only expanding our audience, but helping to inspire a new generation of collectors and dealers,” Briddle said. “In all of our malls, we’re seeing new customers—new collectors, many of whom are looking for a networking and information-sharing community. As we’re watching this change unfold, we decided that this would be a good time to expand. The market research confirmed our best instincts.”
The Brass Armadillo® opened its first mall in the Phoenix area nearly 16 years ago. The Brass Armadillo® Phoenix North, located just off I-17 and Cactus at 12419 N. 28th Dr., features 650 dealers. That mall filled up within three months of opening and has had a dealer waiting list ever since. The Phoenix metro area has grown by more than 50 percent since the first Brass Armadillo opened.
“Our research told us that there was pent-up and un-met demand in the Valley, and that the western suburbs, in particular, were underserved,” he added. “An opportunity came up in Goodyear, and we moved forward.”
A month after opening the doors, the new Phoenix West mall is more than two-thirds full, with more dealers signing up every day.
“We’re very pleased with the pace of dealer rentals as well as the merchandise mix we’re attracting,” Briddle said. Dealer specialties include furniture, primitives, glassware, promotional signage, vintage clothing, tools, toys, and more.
The Goodyear mall offers some features and opportunities not found in other Brass Armadillo malls. For example, the perimeter of the space is lined with individual rooms [cover photo], perfect for dealers who want to recreate the feel of a independent shop.
“These prime spaces lend themselves to great creativity for dealers who want to make a bold statement,” Briddle added. When the Phoenix West mall reaches capacity, the Brass Armadillo® will have more than 1,200 dealers in the two locations in Phoenix and more than 3,300 dealers in total at its six malls.
As with the company’s other malls in Colorado, Iowa, Missouri, and Nebraska, the Phoenix West Brass Armadillo will accommodate its customers with shopping hours from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.
The Brass Armadillo is well-known for its ability to marry the age-old art of collecting with modern retailing professionalism and convenience.
“People who shop here find antiques and other treasures they won’t find anywhere else,” said Larry Gottula, president and co-founder of the Brass Armadillo®. “They take satisfaction in sifting through the treasure trove and discovering the perfect gift or collectible, but when it’s time to purchase or they need assistance, they want the convenience of a retail store. We offer both here — the thrill of discovery, coupled with retail professionalism and convenience.”
Less than an hour from Tempe or Scottsdale, the Phoenix West Brass Armadillo® is also well-situated to capitalize on California travelers and dealers.
“Our Phoenix mall isn’t just one of our top properties, it is one of the most successful antiques malls in the business,” added Gottula, who attributes that success to quality of the dealers and the size of the collecting community in and around Phoenix. The company’s other malls are located in Denver; Des Moines, Iowa; Omaha, Nebraska; and Kansas City, Missouri.
“The antiques business has changed tremendously since we opened our first mall in the Valley more than 15 years ago,” Briddle added. “The Brass Armadillo® has kept pace by embracing technology tools, social networking and customer service solutions. Today, we help our dealers broaden their markets and extend their reach with online auctions and sales as well as social networking on iAntique®, Facebook and Twitter.”
In 2009, Gottula, David Briddle and Daniel Briddle founded iAntique®, a social networking site for dealers and collectors to share information, hold meetings and webinars, and buy and sell antiques and collectibles.
“We focus our business efforts on helping dealers and collectors have fun and succeed, and it’s been a great 20 years,” Briddle said.
For more information about the Phoenix West Brass Armadillo®, Daniel Briddle is general manager of the Phoenix West Brass Armadillo. The mall’s phone number is 623-889-0290 and the email is firstname.lastname@example.org.